Michael Lynche and Casey James join her in the bottom three.
By Gil Kaufman
It’s getting to that point in season nine of “American Idol” when it gets hard to guess who will go home every week because the competition has gotten so tight. But a night after Simon Cowell compared her tortured screaming to the sound of a woman giving birth, America decided that it wasn’t quite ready for an “Idol” champ as quirky as tattooed glassblower Siobhan Magnus.
After charming the judges and voting public with her offbeat style sense, powerhouse vocals and sometimes sassy backtalk to the judges, Magnus’ luck ran out after she closed Tuesday’s show with an all-over-the-place take on Shania Twain’s “Any Man of Mine.”
Magnus was given the boot on a night that was packed with performances from Rascal Flatts, Shakira and Lady Antebellum, and her exit came after more than 33 million votes were lodged Tuesday.
The results began with host Ryan Seacrest creating three groups of two. The first pairing included Magnus and Lee Dewyze, followed by Casey James and Michael Lynche and then Aaron Kelly and Crystal Bowersox. Cutting the tension immediately, Seacrest walked Magnus across the stage for her first trip to the bottom three, alongside Lynche and James.
The first singer sent back to safety was Lynche, who dodged a bullet for the second time this season. “Tonight is different because everyone did well last night, so there’s no shame in the bottom three,” he said before being sent back to the couches. With James safe, that left the woman Seacrest called an “independent spirit” standing center stage in her salmon-colored miniskirt-and-tank-top combo.
Saying she tried out for the show for her little sisters, Magnus hoped that she had a big impact on them. “I did my best, and I hope that I was able to show them what we’re all capable of,” she said, clearly holding back some emotion.
Keeping her composure, Magnus went out with a typically sassy run through Aretha Franklin’s “Think,” which got the final five and the whole audience on their feet and clapping along. It ended, of course, with one of her signature ear-piercing screams and then some hugs for her family, who told her, “You’re still our star.”
This being a country-themed week, the show kicked off with a live performance from twangy trio Rascal Flatts, who played their cowboy-pop ditty “Unstoppable.” Along with the usual time-killing Ford video and some other promotional shenanigans, the first half of the show also featured season-four “Idol” superstar Carrie Underwood flying in from her national tour just to introduce her current opening act, the little-known brotherly band Sons of Sylvia.
Bringing a harder-edge, new-wave country vibe than they displayed during their winning run last year on “The Next Great America Band,” the all-black-clad Clark brothers played their debut single, “Love Left to Lose.” The tune mixed straightforward radio rock with country touches, including fiddle, mandolin and rocked-out resonator guitar over a thudding backbeat.
With a whole hour to fill, the next break featured ACM winners Lady Antebellum performing their triple-platinum smash “Need You Now.” The Fleetwood Mac-like ballad of romantic longing that has helped propel the album of the same name to the best sales figures of any 2010 release found singers Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott trading off yearning vocals as third member Dave Haywood played along on a grand piano in the background.
The night’s final performance was a truly odd combo, as hip-shaker Shakira was joined by Flatts for the spare belly-dance/ boot-scooter “Gypsy,” which she opened by showing off her harmonica skills. Joined by two dancers, Shakira worked her flowing red skirt and swiveled her hips as she melded her yodely vocals with the high, lonesome sound of Flatts’ Gary LeVox.
Next week’s mentor will be Harry Connick Jr., who will lead the finalists through the songbook of Frank Sinatra.
What did you think of tonight’s elimination? Did Siobhan deserve to go home? Leave your comments below!
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